Last summer saw attempt number 2 at visiting RSPB Bempton Cliffs in East Riding of Yorkshire. The time before we visited on a drizzly day in late July. Literally, as soon as we arrived at the visitor centre the mists descended and it was bitter weather. I still don’t know why we paid money to visit that day but we did and we soon left without even setting foot out the centre. The moral of this story is to check the weather first. Be aware of visibility when you are visiting. If it’s misty don’t bother!
Visiting RSPB Bempton Cliffs – A Review
RSPB Bempton Cliffs can be found not too far from Flamborough on the East Yorkshire coast. The village of Bempton is tiny and a nightmare to drive through in the summer. There is only one road to the cliffs so don’t miss the sign. It is free to park at RSPB Bempton but if you do want to walk out to the cliffs you will have to pay to visit. We are not bird spotters by any means. We don’t even own a decent pair of binoculars. But it is somewhere that we’ve been wanting to visit for some time. Mostly in the hope of spotting some puffins. As we aren’t experts we didn’t spot a huge amount of birds but for the non-experts what can you expect to see?
They have self-guided trails (including a Puffin Trail, Gannet Trail and Scavenger Bug Hunt Trail) and Discovery Backpacks for hire throughout the year. The backpacks contain binoculars, spotter sheets, a bird book and magnifying bug pot so that kids can explore the reserve and get closer to nature.
What birds did we spot in the Spring at RSPB Bempton Cliffs
From Spring through to summer the Puffins arrive to have their babies. Puffins are small, pretty, but elusive birds. During our visit we were taught to look for a crag in the rocks. In that you will most likely spot a puffin. The females don’t like the weather so they nest within the rocks. The males will to and fro with food and that will be your change to spot a puffin. Luckily one was pointed out to us, we would never have seen it otherwise.
We spotted plenty of Gannets flying around. These birds are huge with the most enormous wing span. They are easy to spot because of this and they are incredibly loud. There are literally thousands of sea birds nesting along these cliffs and the sound of them talking to each other is amazing.
We also spotted Guillemots along the cliff edges, These are slender black birds with a white front. Gannets, Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Razorbills are the easiest of all the birds to spot as there’s literally thousands of them on these cliffs. Kittiwakes are cute almost seagull like birds. There are other birds to spot if you are keen but these are the ones that you will easily be able to spot.
They have a large and very nice shop at the centre. Plus a cafe serving hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, snacks including delicious cake and more. They also have toilets on site. There is disabled access on to the paths. Out to the cliffs there are wooden platforms to help give you the best view possible of the nesting birds. Along the way you will spot many signs telling you all about puffins. You will also see many signs helping you to identify birds on the cliffs. They often have rangers posted on the platforms to help you understand what you are looking at.
We walked to the cliffs and then left first. This is where there are paths suitable for all. They also have a few benches along the way for a rest. You can walk a long way along the cliff top. You can also head right but this path is on rough ground and harder to walk on.
The Seabird Centre (including toilets) is open from 9.30am – 5pm in summer, and 9.30am – 4pm in winter. It is open all year round. Entrance is free to members of the RSPB. Otherwise it costs £5.00 for an adult and £2.50 for a child. Although first child is free and under 5’s are free regardless.
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